Sunday, December 25, 2011

Signs of Christmas

Yesterday, December 24, we drove from here to Tekirdag which is a large port city between here and Istanbul (maybe halfway?) The region is famous for kofte (Turkish meatballs - usually rectangular) and Raki (licorice flavoured alcohol). We stopped for lunch (kofte!) at a seaside restaurant. They are on the main road so the staff has a few English phrases and the menus are bilingual. While we were there a tourist group from Singapore stopped for lunch. They are in Turkey for about 3 weeks and have family in Vancouver, B.C. Of course we know this because one of the ladies in the group stopped to chat and spoke excellent English as well as her native language. It reminded me again how handicapped unilingual people like myself really are.
We did some reconnaisance and found a 3M Migros (Walmart Super Centre) like our local Kipa in Gelibolu but bigger. We drove around some more and found the town centre perched on a hillside and jammed with traffic and pedestrians and dogs. Nicole counted 7 dogs in one block. Eventually we found the Mall.
We parked underground after the sentry inspected the back of our car with a mirror on a stick. The mall was four floors serviced entirely by escalators with a huge Carrefour (Walmart Super Centre) store on the second floor. We even found a toy store. Most of the toys are for children under 6 with a few for the 6-10 age group. I haven't seen any Lego, but this store did carry a small selection of Schleich animals. Purchases at this store and others are put in bags that seal so you can put them under the tree without any additional wrapping.
This mall was decorated with lights, tinsel and santas for Christmas. We saw santa hats, small plastic trees and garland for sale on the street corners when we were driving around.
I'm not sure how long we spent at the Mall but it was about an hour too long for all of us. We were grateful to get back to the car and back on the road. We sang carols most of the way home and listened to Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe on podcast.
This morning the children got up and found all the pieces to our little nativity. I usually hide each piece in turn as the month of December progresses, but this year I hid them all after bedtime last night. No presents get opened until someone finds baby Jesus. This year like last year, Nicole found Him and so she gets the fuzzy stuffed lamb to keep for the year. Once Jesus is in the manger with the rest of pieces we opened stockings, ate candy, and opened presents. Cam made us a yummy breakfast.
The rest of the day we expect to spend quietly at home. (Although I think there is a nerf gun battle brewing.) Later there will be turkey and after that more music.

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